Monday, 4 December 2017


 I’ve chosen an excerpt to feature in this post that’s related to finding the perfect job. Why is this important? Because there some very unique trends in the current job market.

     There is no more glass ceiling. This means climbing the ladder doesn’t really exist anymore. Instead, we career hop. It’s rare and frowned upon to be in a role longer than 4 years. People wonder why you haven’t tried anything new. They think you’re lazy if you don’t move around. Where’s your ambition?

2   40-hour work week is becoming obsolete. Instead, flexible hours are the thing. While this seems awesome (I can travel as much as I want?!), this also means you’re constantly on the clock. Canceling plans last minute so you can finish a presentation for your 9PM meeting with New Zealand office is not unusual. It just is. Going to a coffee shop and seeing other people on a work computer, also normal. As is the person on their laptop on the bus, working during the commute home. God forbid if you have to travel for work the plane doesn’t have Wi-Fi.

     We are underpaid. If you take inflation into account, our generation makes less than our parents. This means without help it’s an even larger challenge to make big purchases like a house. It also means putting off life events like starting a family. Not to say it’s totally uncommon to own a house or have a kid in your twenties, but most of us would wonder how a person was able to pull it off and assume they had help from their parents.

The Proust Questionnaire was used as a device to bring up the topic of jobs in the scene below. (Side note: if you haven’t heard of it, google it. The Vanity Fair Proust Questionnaires by celebrities are an addicting read!). Emmeline (my Caroline Bingley) and Darcy come from privilege. Though they are older than Lizzie, the help they have had from their parents paved their way professionally. Emmeline, for instance, was able to work in her field by holding an unpaid internship for a year. Darcy basically inherited his job. Lizzie, while having a little help from her parents, is expected to start supporting herself immediately after graduation. It’s daunting, especially when many jobs pay like crap or are temporary. I admit that the job market is much better now than say six years ago when I was thrilled to find a 6-month contract copy writing power tool descriptions (yes, that was a real job I had), but my younger siblings have faced similar challenges, despite the fact we are ten years apart.

The below scene is my “Netherfield”. The party is staying at Chip (my Bingley’s) family cabin during the Fourth of July holiday. Instead of being ill, Jane is required to work from the cabin over the long weekend. As Jane’s guest, Lizzie is feeling out of place. And, of course, Darcy is starting to show his interest and Emmeline is getting jealous.

Read an Excerpt

I walk through the beach grass by myself and revel in the feeling of sand between my toes as I make my way to the surf. The water is freezing and clears my head for a moment.
I imagine Jane and Chip are still in their room, making up for the quality time they lost while she worked. Laurel and Matt must have taken the kids to the playground since their car is gone. Emmeline is probably relieved I left her alone with Darcy. I wonder what will happen when she leaves town again.
Jane and Chip join me on the beach after I’ve made myself comfortable. Chip is very careful with Jane, who seems to be recovering from the same kind of hangover that I am, though Chip seems perfectly content.
“Do you Bishops even get hangovers?” I grumble.
“You probably don’t remember, but I was the designated driver.” He laughs.
“You are a responsible man,” I reply. I sit up on my towel, and Jane exclaims I need more sunscreen.
Darcy joins the group not long after; Emmeline follows. Darcy looks better than I feel, and Emmeline sits near him smugly.
“…you remember Taylor?” she’s saying as they approach the group.
“Sure,” Darcy replies as he nods hello at the group.
“She’s been repping these novelty books. You know the kind I mean?” She notices the rest of the group is listening to her and smiles at the attention. “I was just telling Darcy about the Proust Questionnaire. It’s our new favorite party icebreaker,” she says to us. “Here,” she says, reaching into her bag to retrieve a paperback. “It’s an advanced reader copy. We should fill it out!” she says enthusiastically.
She hands it to Darcy, and he flips through it quickly before passing it back.
“Looks interesting,” he comments.
Emmeline frowns and looks around at our group. She fixes her eyes on me and leans in to offer me the book.
“Have you ever done the Questionnaire, Lizzie?”
“I’ve never heard of it.”
“It’s a famous questionnaire Marcel Proust created,” she states knowingly. “He used it to interview people about their personalities. Vanity Fair prints celebrity versions every month. My client is marketing it to the everyday person. You should try your hand at one; it’s very thought-provoking.”
I frown and flip through the pages. “Looks like a listicle for pseudo-intellectuals. Are you sure you’re interested in…‘the fault I find easiest to tolerate’?”
Emmeline glances at me slyly. “My guess would be naïveté. Am I right?”
“I wouldn’t call naïveté a fault. More like a symptom…but if you’re asking, I’m really not sure. Maybe lack of ambition?”
“Lack of ambition is a quality everyone your age has—it’s probably easy for you to overlook.”
“Some people don’t lack ambition, just direction. But it can appear as lack of ambition,” Darcy remarks.
“Isn’t that just as bad? How can someone who lacks direction have any real goals?” Emmeline asks keenly.
He shakes his head and glances my way for the first time since this morning. My face is hot. How did my life decisions suddenly come under the microscope?

“Did you have your dream job your first summer after college?” I challenge Emmeline.
“I had an internship,” she replies smugly. “They hired me on after a year.”
“Lucky for you,” I reply tartly.
“It wasn’t luck,” Emmeline replies. “I worked hard for it.”
“There’s something to be said for starting at ground zero,” Darcy cuts in.
He glances at me and back to Emmeline. I can’t tell what he means. Does he approve of Emmeline’s method of likely living off her parents for a year?
“Some people have to take shitty jobs to start out,” I challenge. “Not everyone can live off no pay.”
“You didn’t start from ground zero,” Emmeline says to Darcy.
Darcy shrugs. “Lucky for me too, I guess. Thanks to my dad, I was able to jump right into the business.”
Emmeline fixes her gaze on me in challenge. I’m barely able to keep myself from rolling my eyes. “Thank God for that,” she says.
I look between the two of them, annoyed and feeling somewhat ganged up on. So what if I’m not where they were at twenty-two? Between this conversation and that weird interaction with Darcy last night…I don’t know what to feel. I want to brush them off and change the subject. I wish Emmeline would let up. I opt to appear unruffled.
“Well, I have lots to learn from you two, I guess. Thank you, Emmeline, for explaining to me how to be successful.”
Emmeline smiles back at me warily as if she can’t tell if I’m sincere or not.
“What is your dream job, Lizzie?” Darcy asks after a pause. I feel his attention on me like a weight of judgment. I shrug breezily.
“That’s a complicated question,” I reply nonchalantly. “The short answer is I studied to be a curator.” I’m not in the mood to think about Ian and those lingering doubts about my abilities. I squint over the horizon and watch the breeze whisper over the beach grass. Darcy and Emmeline are still watching me. I glance at Emmeline, who looks smug, and raise my eyebrow.
“I’m not lucky like you,” I say. “Paying my dues has to come with income. Maybe, in a few years, I can look to your example to see if I’ve made the right choices—even if I am starting out making coffee at minimum wage.”
“It would be better for your career if your coffee shop showed art,” Emmeline replies. “At least then you would be doing something related to your field.”
I don’t reply but smile to myself. She really thinks she knows everything, doesn’t she? I decide not to draw attention to the fact that Café Longue in fact does show art and that’s why I applied there. I would rather not spur on her jealousy.
“Anyway!” I change the topic. “What’s the weather report for today?”
“Sunny and perfect,” Emmeline replies pleasantly. I can’t help but feel she’s happy making me uncomfortable. I lean back on my elbows and try not to look at her and Darcy, though when I glance over my shoulder, I see he’s watching me. He looks away quickly.

About the Book

Lizzie Venetidis is confident in her decisions. Moving to Seattle with her sister Jane after she graduated from Stanford, for instance, was a no-brainer. Adult life, however, turns out to be more difficult to navigate than she expected.
What career should she pursue with a bachelor’s degree in art history and no marketable experience amongst a tech-heavy job market? How responsible is it to drink that fourth cocktail while out with friends? And what should she do about Darcy—the aloof yet captivating guy she met her first night in town?
All the Things I Know is a one-mistake-at-a-time retelling of Pride & Prejudice, set against the backdrop of modern-day techie Seattle. Full of wry observations, heartache, and life lessons, All the Things I Know shares the original’s lessons of correcting ill-conceived first impressions and learning who you really are.

About the Author  

Audrey Ryan is the nom de plume of Andrea Pangilinan: daydreamer, wife and step-mother, and obsessive story consumer. She studied writing in college, dreamt about becoming a novelist and slowly forgot about it when real life took over. With a particular affection for contemporary retellings, adapting Pride & Prejudice to modern day has always been a dream.

When she’s not reading and writing, Andrea is a marketing slave to the internet industry. She enjoys talking crazy to her weirdo cat, consuming copious amount of wine and coffee with her girlfriends, and record shopping with her husband. Oh yeah, and there’s that small Jane Austen obsession. That doesn’t take up any time at all.

You can contact Audrey at her website, on facebook or twitter 
 and also on Goodreads

Check out All the Things I Know at  


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darcybennett said...

Enjoyed the excerpt. Poor Lizzie, Emmeline seems like quite a a pain. Was she inspired by Caroline Bingley as I'm getting that vibe from her.

Audrey Ryan said...

@darcybennett -- Emmeline is for sure Caroline and jealousy does not become her ;).

Unknown said...

super super excited to read this book!!

Suzan Lauder said...

We get an excerpt with Darcy plus Proust. What a story!

Audrey Ryan said...

@Priscilla Teh - this book is excited to be ready by you! ;) -- thanks for the vote of confidence!

@Suzan Lauder - thanks!! And thanks for all your your comments <3

Eva said...

Thank you so much for the excerpt. I now need to look up the Proust Questionnaire.

Sophia Rose said...

Ugh, Emmeline!

Loved the excerpt and the intro to it. This book continues to entice me. :)

Audrey Ryan said...

@Eva - I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt. Once you get reading some of the celebrity answers to the questionnaire, you may become addicted :).

@Sophia Rose - Ugh, Emmeline indeed! I'm glad you're enticed by the book -- I hope you get to read and enjoy it soon!

Lúthien84 said...

Thank you for providing an insight of the current job market, Audrey. I agree with all your points stated. We are no longer loyal to only one company but choose another job if the pay is good. But some friends I know still work the 9-5 jobs though more are going freelance.

Nice excerpt btw. Who is Laurel and Matt? I mean who is their counterpart from canon?

Audrey Ryan said...

@Lúthien84 Thanks for the kind words about the post and excerpt! Matt & Laurel are Mr. & Mrs. Hurst in this story :).

NovElla said...

This looks like an interesting new take on Pride and Prejudice! I love the modern references.

Audrey Ryan said...

@NovElla Thanks for the comment! I hope you enjoy it -- best of luck in the giveaway!

Dung said...

Congrats on your debut novel! Can't wait to read it! Thanks for sharing the excerpt.

Audrey Ryan said...

@Dung Vu so happy to see you following the blog tour. Thanks for the comments! I hope you enjoy the book :)

Belden Computer Cable said...

Collectively, Ms. Ryan has written a new adult story that captures a variety of the themes from Austen’s Pride & Prejudice within a modern setting and timeframe and allowed her characters’ stories to shine in their own ways, just as a true work of art should be allowed to shine!